Grand Mosque Staff Learn Sign Language

Grand Mosque Staff Learn Sign Language
(Friday, April 3, 2015) 15:00

CAIRO – Catering to the needs of deaf pilgrims, a Grand Mosque academy in Makkah has trained dozens of its employees on sign language to help worshippers to better achieve their spiritual journey to the holy land.

“People with disabilities are just as equal as anyone else once they enter the House of Allah (the Grand Mosque),” head of the Grand Mosque’s Academy Waleed Basamad told Makkah newspaper, Saudi Gazette reported on Sunday, March 22.

“It is our duty to reach out to them and speak their language to ensure they are having a comfortable time in the mosque.”

According Basamad, 30 mosque employees have been trained by the academy on sign language to serve deaf pilgrims.

The sign language workshop, which was offered by the sign language instructor Mohammad Al-Abumadrah, comes as a part of the academy 9th training program held under the title “Effective Communication Skills”.

“The academy offers training and workshop continuously but our sign language program was especially important,” Basamad said.

“We promote friendly and welcoming attitudes among our employees to ensure they greet and receive the guests of the mosque in the most respectable manner.

“The academy aims to integrate the latest technologies in its program to reap maximum benefits and represent the mosque in the best way possible.”

Initiatives to use sign language in mosques are not new in Muslims countries.

In December 2013, UAE’s Sharjah religious authorities announced their plans to offer Friday’s sermons in five languages, along with translating them into sign language.

The multilingual mosques would allow Deaf and non-Arabic speaking Muslims to better understand their faith.

Every disabled person should be patient and live up to this challenge.

Islam also instructs Muslims to offer people with special needs due respect and attention.

They should be cared for and all their needs should be fulfilled and they should not be isolated as they are an integral part of the society.

Multilingual staff

Miles away from Makkah, female staffers at prophet's mosque are offering multilingual services to the non-Arabic speaking visitors to Madinah.

Speaking 17 languages, which are common among pilgrims, young Saudi female staffers can easily guide thousands of visitors every day.

“This is the outcome of intensive training and orientation courses that began nearly one decade ago,” one of their supervisors told Al-Watan daily.

The 17 languages include, English, Urdu, French, Turkish, Malawi, Indonesian, Malaysian, Hindi, Persian, Hausa, Pashto, Thai and Malawi.

With about 97% of them are university graduates, including some with masters degrees. All the staff should undergo sufficient training before appointment.

“The Presidency had started providing training to the staffers in language acquisition nearly 10 years ago,” the supervisor, who requested anonymity, said.

“The Presidency has hired translators and preachers for this purpose.”

She went on saying: “The staffers are in a comfortable position in their crowd control exercise at the Prophet’s Mosque.

“They have proved their efficiency in managing women pilgrims from all corners of the globe in a systematic and orderly way, especially during rush hours at Rawdat Al-Sharif.”

Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.

Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.

Al-Masjid al-Haram is Islam's holiest shrine and home to the Ka`bah, the direction Muslims take during prayers.

The prophet's mosque was built in 622 CE when Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) immigrated to Madinah, he built a mosque next to his house.

The mosque was an open-air building with a platform for reciting Qur'an. Since then, the mosque has been known as the Prophet's Mosque.

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